5 Reasons Brands Should Go Live

George F. Snell III
George F. Snell III

What do The New York Times, the Huffington Post and Verizon Wireless all have in common? All three brands have moved from real-time communications to “live” broadcasting—through video.

Why video?

Because in the United States, 169 million people are tuning in to online video—that’s 75% of everyone with an Internet connection.

It’s because, in 2011, YouTube surpassed 1 trillion views.

It’s because 18 to 49 year olds in the United States now spend five hours and 45 minutes watching online videos each month, and that number continues to “hockey stick” as technology and connectivity improve.

Why go live?

Because media sites like Mashable have observed, “We certainly see strong demand [for live streaming video] in [several] verticals: gaming, sports, news increasingly—anything with a real-time or community driven aspect to it.”

Live broadcasting offers huge pay-offs in audience reach, engagement and branding.

At Weber Shandwick, we recently announced GoLive, a creative offering that incorporates live storytelling, broadcast quality-production and social distribution that gets our clients’ content in front of the right audiences at the right time.

We have taken more than a dozen brands through the GoLive experience, including Verizon Wireless and Ocean Spray.

The results have been impressive, as our clients feel the power, excitement and energy that come with live broadcasting infused with engagement. In fact, one of our recent live broadcasts drew an audience of more than 90,000 people from around the world, including dozens of media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch.

Here are five reasons why every brand should consider going live:

> Live events are electrifying
That’s why people go to sporting events and concerts in person. There’s energy in live. It’s why live broadcasts draw huge audiences—from the Academy Awards to the Super Bowl to live episodes of “American Idol” and “Saturday Night Live.” There’s an energy to live that can’t be replicated on tape.

> Social and digital media were built for live
Live blogging. Twitter chats. Google+ Hangouts. Social and digital channels were designed for live interactions. The natural next step is to infuse those channels with live video broadcasting, which can easily be embedded into Facebook applications, websites and even right in a tweet.

> Live broadcasts are infused with content
Live broadcasts are not live streaming. They integrate your audience as well as an infusion of multimedia content such as other video, images and graphics, reports and surveys and even original music.

> Live broadcasts encourage engagement
Especially live broadcasts that are actively broadcast on social and digital channels. The engagement mechanisms are built right in. With a click of a button people can suddenly find themselves in the middle of a story—participating, interacting, sharing and adding to the content.

> Live events are unscripted
Work without a net. Nobody can fully predict what will happen at a live event. That’s the magic of it. Brands shouldn’t be afraid of the sizzle of live broadcasts, but should embrace it as a powerful way to excite, connect with and energize their fans and followers.

Why write a static press release when you can live broadcast your news?

Why create yet another panel discussion when you can make it a live production?

Why hold a local press conference when you can invite participation from media and bloggers from anywhere on earth?

Why hold a local event when you can include the entire world?

That’s the power of going live.

George F. Snell III is senior VP of digital at Weber Shandwick.